Premature Termination From Family Therapy
Traci BarrettUniversity of PennsylvaniaFaculty Sponsor
: Dr. Alan Kazdin
Past research investigating premature termination from treatment indicates that stressful life events often cause families to drop out of therapy before the completion date. However, it may be that the optimal treatment length differs on a case-by-case basis such that drop-out families would not benefit from additional therapy.
Research was conducted with families seeking treatment for their children's aggressive and violent behavior. We developed a therapy program for families as an alternative to the standard 12 session Parent Management Training program at the treatment clinic, whereby the prescribed date of termination was flexible and mutually decided upon by the family and therapist. Families were administered the Youth Outcome Questionnaire at each therapy session to derive an ongoing measure of children's progress. Data collection is ongoing and will eventually reveal whether there is a significant difference in improvement between families who remain in treatment for the prescribed 12 weeks and those who elect to terminate treatment earlier.
Traci Barrett is a senior psychology major with a minor in English, and is a Philadelphia native. A member of the Undergraduate Psychology Society and secretary of the Psi Chi chapter, she also tutors and teaches dance at local schools and is president of the Club Gymnastics team. Ms. Barrett has earned a place on the Dean's List for the past three years, and participates in the Honors Psychology Program, researching the effects of poverty on children's behaviors under the supervision of Dr. Sara Jaffee. She has conducted research pertaining to infant language development, adolescent aggression, the integration of cognitive and social components in Head Start Programs, treatments for addictions, and the link between parental depression and child psychopathology. This past summer, Ms. Barrett conducted clinical research at the Yale Child ConductClinic, directed by Dr. Alan Kazdin. She plans to enter graduate school in clinical psychology with an emphasis on child psychopathology.Gender Differences in Youth Violence Prevention
Christina Lynn BrunoPomona College (PA)Faculty Sponsor
: Dr. Gerald Lansberg
The current study aimed to evaluate potential gender differences in the effectiveness of a school-based violence prevention program in New York City. The study consisted of 676 participants in the 8-12 grade range and 1085 participants in the 4-7 grade range, evenly divided in terms of gender and representative of local racial demographics. At baseline, females were significantly more likely to employ help seeking and prosocial strategies for conflict resolution, whereas males employed antisocial and physical aggression strategies. Gender differences in effectiveness of the program are still being evaluated. These results may have implications for the creation and implementation of violence prevention programs in urban middle schools and high schools.
Christina Lynn Bruno, a senior at Pomona College in Claremont, CA, is expecting to graduate in May 2007. Majoring in psychology with a minor in women's studies, she is interested in the study of violence and poverty, particularly domestic violence. Ms. Bruno is currently training at House of Ruth, a local domestic violence crisis center. She also organizes Take Back the Night at the Claremont Colleges, through her work at the campus health education center. Ms. Bruno works as a research assistant for Dr. Deborah Burke in the area of memory and aging. She is also a Mortar Board member and a Pomona College Scholar. Upon graduating from Pomona, Ms. Bruno plans to enter a PhD program in community psychology or social work. After completing this degree, she will pursue a career in community development and policy research with a focus on prevention and intervention programs. Etiology of Criminal Thinking Patterns in Sex Offenders
Jennifer M. JohnsonCreighton University (NE)Faculty Sponsor
: Dr. Matthew P. Huss
Extensive research on criminal offenders identifies several thinking errors associated with offending which are crime sustaining motives, rationalizations, and attitudes. Past research has connected thinking errors to crime. However, little research concerning the etiology of thinking errors exists. One theory to describe the etiology of thinking errors in a specific set of criminal offenders was proposed by Ward, Hudson, and Marshall (1995). This innovative theory, the cognitive deconstruction theory, describes the creation and sustaining of thinking errors in sex offenders.
Hatch-Maillette, Scalora, Huss, and Baumgartner (2001) tested the cognitive deconstruction theory with a small sample of sex offenders. They hypothesized that child molesters would exhibit fewer thinking errors than nonsex offenders while in a controlled setting because the temptation to commit a sex crime (associated with cognitive deconstruction) would be reduced. Results supported their hypothesis.
The current study attempted to determine if cognitive deconstruction applied to all sex offenders. Thinking errors were compared across 4 types of offenders: non-, adult-only, child-only, and mixed. Results indicated that child molesters exhibited significantly fewer thinking errors than nonsex offenders in 2 of 8 scales of criminal thinking. No other significant results or general trends were found. An explanation for the lack of difference is that mediating factors may contribute greatly to criminal thinking scores. Further research regarding these mediating factors will be conducted.
Jennifer M. Johnson is a senior psychology major with an emphasis in science. She is a member of Psi Chi, Omicron Delta Kappa, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and Alpha Sigma Nu. Currently, she serves as a teaching assistant and conducts research at the Lincoln Regional Center in Nebraska. Her next research endeavors include examining an evolutionary perspective of the etiology of child molesters and assisting research on the psychological aspects of physics education. After graduation, she intends to attend a graduate program in psychology.
Nonconscious Conceptual Integration
Spike Wing Sing LeeUniversity of MichiganFaculty Sponsor
: Dr. John A. Bargh
An emotion has perceptual, cognitive, motivational, and behavioral components that are integrated to bring about subjective emotional experience.
Whether or not such integration occurs automatically (nonconsciously) is an empirical question and the focus of this project. We hypothesize that prevention-focus motivation, self-focus attention, and absence of empathy can be nonconsciously integrated to produce effects comparable to shame emotion; and that promotion-focus motivation, behavior-focus attention, and presence of empathy can be nonconsciously integrated to produce effects comparable to guilt emotion. Empirical support for these predictions will challenge the current assumption that conceptual integration requires one's conscious processing. Accordingly, it will support the notion that the nonconscious plays an important role in both single-stimulus lab situations and multiple-stimuli naturalistic settings.
Spike Wing Sing Lee is a senior psychology major at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He attended the University of Michigan in 2004-05 as a visiting sophomore. His meta-analytic review of the culture-priming literature, coauthored with Dr. Daphna Oyserman, was presented at the 2005 APS Convention and published in the Handbook of Cultural Psychology.Comprehension of Generic Masculine Pronouns
Currently supported by two grants, Mr. Lee's research revolves around the theme of understanding contextual effects on psychological processes. Seven ongoing projects are investigating complex priming mechanisms; methods, effects, and moderators of culture-priming; cultural effects of language mediated by the self; acculturation and mental health; organizational and individual values; response tendencies to different scale formats; and identity motives. He collaborates with researchers in Hong Kong, the U.S., the U.K., Israel, and Turkey.
Mr. Lee is interested in personality and social psychology, especially phenomenal experiences and social cognition. Graduating in June 2007, he plans to attend graduate school to obtain his PhD in social psychology and pursue a research career.
Megan M. MillerUniversity of Colorado at Colorado SpringsFaculty Sponsor
: Dr. Lori E. James
Previous research (MacKay & Fulkerson, 1979) has shown that college students rarely comprehend masculine pronouns as functioning generically. For the current study, it was predicted that current college students would make the same cognitive errors, even if they indicated that they were aware of this rule. Participants were presented with generic (i.e., referring equally to both males and females) sentences containing a masculine pronoun. In response to the question "Could this sentence refer to one or more females?", incorrect responses were made to well over half of the sentences, regardless of the antecedent type (i.e., a role filled predominantly by males, predominantly by females, or neutral). These results suggest that masculine pronouns are not easily comprehended as generic, thus, influencing the exclusion of females from people's interpretation of the sentence.
Originally from Pueblo, CO, Megan M. Miller is currently a senior psychology major at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Her summer research project is a portion of an empirical thesis she is working on as part of the psychology honors program at UCCS. In addition to being a member of Psi Chi, Ms. Miller is also the president of the Circle K club at UCCS and is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta. Her professional interests and future plans are focused on earning a doctoral degree in applied psychology with an emphasis in healthcare. In her free time, she enjoys playing golf and drawing.The Lunch Substitution Study: Effect of Portion Size on Long-Term Weight Regulation
Samantha MoshierUniversity of PennsylvaniaFaculty Sponsor
: Dr. David Levitsky
There is evidence from prior research that energetic errors can occur in the biological regulation of energy intake. For example, a person who ate a small breakfast may not completely compensate for the energetic deficit at dinner. This suggests that biological regulation does not completely control energy balance, leaving the possibility that external factors are a significant factor in body weight. This has major implications for obesity research and treatments because it suggests that making changes to the environment may be an effective strategy for weight loss.
Our study sought to investigate the quantity of energetic error necessary to prompt regulation. Subjects were fed and energy intake was measured for a 5-week period. During the baseline period, subjects were instructed to eat as much as they liked during every meal. In the following 2 weeks, however, subjects were given a low-calorie meal replacement instead of the usual lunch. Subjects returned to the baseline condition for the last 2 weeks. Our main interest was the amount of time it took for subjects to adjust their intake in accordance with the smaller lunches. Results are currently under analysis.
Social and Biological Factors in Girls At-Risk for Depression
Silvia P. SamanezStanford University (CA)Faculty Sponsor
: Dr. Ian Gotlib
The aim of this study was to examine possible factors that increase the risk for depression in never-disordered daughters of previously depressed mothers or never-depressed mothers. The Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (K-SADS) and the Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM (SCID) were administered to identify the groups. Then, the pair underwent a negative mood-induction procedure in order to examine the effects of this state on cognitive biases as they processed emotional information. DNA was collected to assess the degree to which individual differences in genetic polymorphisms interact with other vulnerability factors in differentiating high-risk and control participants. The dyads were videotaped and salivary cortisol samples were collected as they discussed a recent stressful event. The purpose of the cortisol collection was to assess any potential differences between control and at-risk pairs in both the initial stress reactivity and how quickly and successfully they recover after the stressful interaction has terminated.
Silvia P. Samanez, a senior, plans to graduate with a BS in psychology and complete a MS in psychology next year. As a research assistant in the Stanford Mood and Anxiety Disorders Laboratory, she has focused on the biological, social, and cognitive risk factors that contribute to the development of adolescent psychopathology. In the future, she aspires to enroll in a child clinical psychology doctoral program and be an active contributor to empirically based programs that aid at-risk youth. Originally from Peru, Ms. Samanez hopes to encourage future generations to increase the diversity in academic psychology. She is currently president of the Stanford Chapter of Psi Chi. She has also been an associate director for the Stanford Undergraduate Psychology Conference, a peer counselor at the Sexual Health Peer Resource Center, a member of the Stanford Undergraduate Psychology Association, and a member of Stanford Beyond Bars. Neonatal N-Methyl-D-Aspartate (Nmda) Antagonism in C57bl/6 Mice as a Model for the Cognitive Deficits Associated With Schizophrenia
Jesse WoodVirginia Commonwealth UniversityFaculty Sponsor
: Dr. Joseph H. Porter
The current study sought to establish subchronic PCP administration as a model for the cognitive deficits associated with schizophrenia in adult mice. Subcutaneous injections of 20 mg/kg PCP twice daily for 14 days were followed by assessment in the Morris Water Maze. The mice exhibited significantly lower escape latencies in the task, seemingly suggesting that PCP improves working memory. However, the decreased escape latency was due to a significant increase in the swim speed of the mice and not due to path length, thus PCP failed to produce working memory dysfunction. These findings suggest that an adulthood insult is insufficient to produce working memory dysfunction analogous to the deficits observed in schizophrenia, and that schizophrenia may be a developmental disorder.
Jesse Wood, originally from Tennessee, is a senior psychology major at Virginia Commonwealth University. His major research interests include the neurobiological substrates of schizophrenia and the cognitive impairments associated with the disease. After receiving his BS in psychology in 2007, Mr. Wood wishes to attend graduate school and major in neuroscience. He plans to continue investigating the cognitive impairments associated with schizophrenia in addition to researching drugs of abuse. He also plans on developing novel preclinical models of established clinical tests as a graduate researcher. Mr. Wood is a member of Psi Chi, Phi Kappa Phi, Golden Key, the Society for Neuroscience, and the Society for the Stimulus Properties of Drugs. When not in the lab, he is an avid chef and jazz musician.